UFC 107: 620,000 Buys

December 23, 2009

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer writes that UFC 107 beat just about every expectation in selling over 600,000 PPV buys on December 12th.

After four straight disappointing numbers, UFC 107 shocked pretty much everyone, affirming the value of a great pregame show as it did, based on the latest estimates, more than 620,000 buys. That will end up probably tripling Survivor Series’ North American buys that took place the next day.

 

What is curious is that the wide variance between UFC 106 and UFC 107 isn’t notable in looking at non-PPV numbers that you could look at regarding interest in the show, such as amount of clicks on major web site coverage of the shows, web site activity regarding the shows, which almost always directly correlate with buy rates. In looking at these numbers, 107 was ahead of 106, but there was nothing that would indicate 107 doing almost double the buys.

 

Historically, when looking at these types of numbers, you usually can get a good indication of where the PPV numbers are going to fall. For 106, the buys were much lower than those numbers would indicate, but for 107 they were much higher and right now I can’t come up with a reason why this would be. Within the company, the belief is B.J. Penn has become one of the top draws. In the arena at 107, the most popular fighter was Clay Guida. But Guida is your classic example of a guy who gets a great response, probably helps a little with TV ratings but I don’t see him as a PPV draw, and obviously Zuffa doesn’t see him as a big one either since Guida vs. Kenny Florian wasn’t even promoted on the Countdown show.

Payout Perspective:

Going into UFC 107 we had a pretty good idea that it was going to be the best PPV since UFC 101 in August, but I’m not sure anyone expected 620,000 based on the kind of pre-fight indicators that we were seeing. UFC 107 proved to be the first – and probably not the last – event to exceed our PPV prediction range here at MMAPayout.

What explains the result? Like anything else, the result is a combination of things:

  • A believable title fight
  • A solid main card
  • Strong personalities: BJ Penn, Frank Mir, and to a lesser extent Diego Sanchez
  • UFC 107 was the strongest card – by far – in more than 5 months

If you believe that fans have been forced to carefully pick and choose between events – for any number of reasons, but most related to time or monetary constraints – then it makes sense that UFC 107 is the card they chose to purchase more so than any other event this fall. The level of interest in the UFC hasn’t necessarily changed over the last few months, but the willingness of the UFC’s fans to purchase an event understandably fluctuates.

It all comes down to the UFC’s ability to promote and build fight cards that have the perception of being worthy to purchase. Hence, the reason why Frank Mir’s performance on the Countdown show was as effective as it was. The UFC had the attention of all these fans – it never left after UFC 101 – but the organization simply had to convince those people that this card was worthy of the purchase.

It all sounds very basic, but when you look at some of the panic we’ve seen over the last few months it’s a necessary reminder.

19 Responses to “UFC 107: 620,000 Buys”

  1. Jake on December 23rd, 2009 7:02 PM

    Sorry but if the UFC isn’t releasing numbers I can’t buy it.

  2. mmaguru on December 23rd, 2009 7:03 PM

    I’d hate to say it, but i dont believe the number at all. meltzer has been wrong quite a bit. he said 100 did 1.8 million, dana confirmed a 1.6 million number. i’d say it did at most 550K, and we’ll learn the truth soon enough.

  3. Leonard on December 23rd, 2009 7:40 PM

    Meltzer has always been incredibly accurate with PPV buys, most of the time going under with his original numbers.

    And, really? You just compared 1.6 million to 1.8 million like it was a huge gap…..

  4. mmaguru on December 23rd, 2009 8:07 PM

    leonard, the gap is enough to not rely on meltzer as an absolute source. he has always overstated the buy projections. another example was with the ufc ppv numbers revealed by couture during their dispute – the numbers randy revealed was in proximity to 20% difference than what meltzer was suggesting. until there are accurate numbers revealed by zuffa, we can take what meltzer says with a grain of salt, not much better than a guess.

    i do believe the number was high, at least 550K. but 620K seems a bit odd.

  5. toyj on December 23rd, 2009 8:20 PM

    another rigged number…by the UFC…as long as they dont release theyre numbers publicly then whats the point of beleiving it…Dana didnt call richard shaefers challenge to account his ufc 100ppv which according to many sources is south of a million…Also Dana was trying to be funny that he would jump the MGM if it reaches 1.5 million..and after the event he said he would be jumping—-thou he didnt confirm or deny such numbers he just stated he would jump…..smart guy….but guess what he still hasnt jumped…corporate sponsors should really investigate the numbers because if its not accurate than its pretty much fraud…..or unethical marketing…

  6. AmericanPankration on December 23rd, 2009 10:07 PM

    I believe I was only person on these forums who knew this event would do around the 600k mark. Everyone predicted below the 500 mark. As I have said many times, mma-payout still under and over-estimates what a high-rated (or low-rated) performace can do for a fighter’s popularity. BJ was coming off an 800k ppv where he dominated. Sanchez(as kelsey corrected me) was coming off a 2.8 million viewed fight night where he put on a FOY performance. These two combined with the UFC hype machine could have easily produced 550-600k buys.

  7. EJ on December 23rd, 2009 10:29 PM

    I can’t believe that even after all this time people are still trying to dispute Meltzer’s credibility when it comes to buyrates, the guy has been doing this long before anyone cared and is by far the best at it.

    The UFC/Couture feud pretty much proved it when their internal numbers for the ppv where on par with what Meltzer’s estimates where, people need to wake up and realise that aside from Dana himself Meltzer is the best source when it comes to ppv numbers bar none.

  8. eJiuJitsu » UFC Rebounds With 620,000 Pay-Per-View Buys For UFC 107 on December 24th, 2009 3:28 AM

    [...] an early Christmas present from fans in the form of 620,000 buys for UFC 107. From Dave Meltzer via MMA Payout: After four straight disappointing numbers, UFC 107 shocked pretty much everyone, affirming the [...]

  9. mmaguru on December 24th, 2009 4:27 AM

    EJ,
    Fox news has been telling the “news” for years, how does that add credibility. Meltzer can be close at times, but when the real numbers tend to leak out his predictions appear no better than yours or mine. Just because you and the media accept his numbers as facts doesn’t mean they are. Similar to a rumor, once enough people believe it, it becomes somehow reality. If it’s not enough for him to be wrong on UFC 98, 100 & 101? Now you want to start believing his estimates? If UFC 107 did 620 K buys I’m jumping off the Mandela.

  10. Brain Smasher on December 24th, 2009 6:44 AM

    Guru

    you need to learn more about the subject you talk about. Even Dana himself dont know the numbers of PPV buys. There is NO exact number for a very long time. PPV buys are always rolling in. Dana himself said it takes at least 6 months to get close to the final numbers and even then there are PPVs coming in. There is not just one Satellite Provider, there are many. There isnt just one cable provider there are hundreds of smaller local companies that have to report their buys ever so often. This takes a long time for all these number to be reported back to the parent companies.

    Noone wants to wait 6 months for a better idea of the final numbers of a PPV. We are 2 weeks or so away from 107 and he has already released numbers. Im sure there will be a few more PPV buys added to the final numbers but not that many. Most PPVs providers are still showing replays you can buy.

    Metger has been wrong before but not very often. He relys on sources inside many providers. If one of those sources make a mistake it can make his numbers way off. But this is very rare. I have followed his and other PPV numbers for many many years and he is the most reliable bar none. You can think your guess’ are just as good but they are not.

  11. Stan Kosek on December 24th, 2009 7:24 AM

    Guru,

    Can you link a story where Dana confirms 1.6? It’s not that I don’t believe you, I can just only find stories where he confirms 1.5 + due to the base jumping stunt he’s going to do, but didn’t say a specific number.

    Let’s look at the bigger picture, even if you want to say Meltzer is 20% off mostly, and everyone thinks he always overestimates, that’s still roughly 500k in buys, which is still good, especially considering it ended up being an entertaining card.

    Also, how does everyone know Meltzer is wrong? The UFC doesn’t release their PPV numbers, so any other source you guys are using to compare Meltzer’s ‘wrong’ numbers are every bit, if not more due to Meltzer’s years of PPV sources, as questionable.

    There is no upside in him inflating numbers. A good way to tell might be looking at early WWE PPV projections if he releases those because I believe since WWE is publicly traded they end up releasing PPV numbers in some of their public reports. However, hearing interviews with wrestlers, the final number takes months to get in, because that’s when the companies get their money from the broadcasters and the top end wrestlers get their bonuses. It’s basically what crippled ECW if anyone knows that story. They went to the PPV model, actually had some OK buys but were bouncing checks because they didn’t get paid on their PPVs for many months after.

  12. Timmy on December 24th, 2009 7:31 AM

    If the UFC was going to lie, don’t you think they would have jacked up the numbers for the last 4 events?

  13. Ed on December 24th, 2009 9:55 AM

    Timmy, who says they didn’t?

  14. Brain Smasher on December 24th, 2009 10:56 AM

    How can the UFC Lie when they never release their PPVs? You guys crack me up. Metger works for Yahoo and runs his own website and maybe some other interests. He isnt a UFC official. GIve it a rest already.

  15. Marc Geer on December 24th, 2009 11:25 AM

    So annoying. They are estimates…thats what Meltzer reports…he reports estimates based off of historical data…1.6 to 1.8 and people are acting like he compared 1.8 to 500k. Its so funny people dispute Meltzer when he has so many sources within the industry(both mma and cable) that give him accurate information.

    The UFC has never released pay per view numbers because the numbers seemingly come in at a snails pace over as much as a 9 month period. I work in cable and advertising there really are only trending numbers based off of history.

    620k is a great number and it could actually come up as much as 650 or 660 or as low as 575 or 580. Being off by 50k in one direction or the other isnt so bad

  16. Ed on December 24th, 2009 1:15 PM

    I would like to know why boxing PPV #’s are officially released on the Friday following the fight, while it takes months to get the final #’s for UFC PPV’s. I’ve never heard of any revisions being made to boxing PPV #’s months after they’re released, so I have to assume the announced #’s are accurate. HBO would have a legal duty to correct erroneous #’s because they are a division of a publicly traded company, and investors rely on such public statements in making investment decisions.

  17. Brain Smasher on December 24th, 2009 2:35 PM

    HBO is releasing estimates based on early reports just like Metger. The difference is HBO is allowed to get the info and Metger is using souces who arent supposed to be releasing the info. So his numbers are based on a little less solid info. Also it may be easier to predict boxing numbers because it has a longer history on PPV. A clear pattern in PPV buys while MMA is a volatile young sport that is still growing rapidly plus many other factors like the number of PPVs effecting individual PPVs.

    Here is some comments i found real quick.
    ……………………………………..

    USA Today reported Monday that early indications from cable companies were that the scheduled 12-round light-welterweight bout could get as many as two million buys.

    Co-promoter Bob Arum was delighted with the figures especially as initial estimates were suggesting about one million boxing fans would shell out their cash.

    “We know based on those early numbers and based on experience the event will perform extremely well. If I had to guess, anywhere between 1.6 million and two million homes, which is a home run,” he said.

    The record for a PPV event is the 2.4 million buys for ‘Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya’s May 2007 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which generated a staggering $134 million in revenue.

    …………………………………………….

    By Johnny Benz The excellent Pay Per View Numbers that were reported by HBO shortly after Oscar De La Hoya lost a split decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr., back in the month of May, were $2.15 million pay-per-view buys. That related to $120 million in PPV revenue, plus a live gate just shy of $19 million and total gross receipts of about $150 million that shattered every boxing box office record. Now Dan Rafael on behalf of ESPN is reporting in his Thursday column that the [b] numbers have been revised by HBO and the new numbers are even more impressive than first published [/b], improving the record. Rafael reports in his article: “HBO said with the buys now fully accounted for, the fight actually generated 2.4 million buys and $134.4 million in domestic PPV revenue, bringing the total revenue for the event to approximately $165 million.” Quoted by ESPN, HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet stated: “It is common for early pay-per-view tallies to rise once all the buys are counted, but…

  18. mmaguru on December 25th, 2009 2:04 PM

    Sure, here is the link regarding the 1.6 million buys
    hxxp://mmajunkie.com/news/17217/high-flying-ufc-boss-dana-white-training-for-base-jump-off-mandalay-bay.mma

    as always replace the “xx” with “tt”.

    Merry Christmas all, no sense getting into a huge debate over guessed numbers.

  19. UFC Fighter » UFC Rebounds With 620000 Pay-Per-View Buys For UFC 107 on December 26th, 2009 6:36 AM

    [...] an early Christmas present from fans in the form of 620,000 buys for UFC 107. From Dave Meltzer via MMA Payout: After four straight disappointing numbers, UFC 107 shocked pretty much everyone, affirming the [...]

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